Zimbabwe’s brand equity: Knowledge, trust and loyalty

31 Mar, 2023 - 00:03 0 Views
Zimbabwe’s brand equity: Knowledge, trust and loyalty Dr Musekiwa Clinton Tapera

eBusiness Weekly

Dr Musekiwa Clinton Tapera

Destination brand knowledge comprises brand awareness, brand image and brand commitment all which are sources of brand equity. Brand equity is the value of the brand. It is the added value put to products and services that could be reflected in how customers think, feel and act with respect to the brand, prices, market share as well as profitability that the brand earns for the firm.

Positive brand equity can repel entry by prospective competitors. Brand equity is the total accumulated value or worth of a brand. It includes tangible and intangible assets that a brand contributes to the destination.

These assets can either be financial or their value could be their ability to leverage brand equity. It is agreed that to develop brand equity, the destination should conduct a brand audit.

This is a comprehensive examination of the brand that involves the various activities that are meant to assess the health of the brand, while uncovering its sources of equity and suggesting different ways to improve that equity.

It is, therefore, important and progressive to dissect the centrality of Brand Knowledge, Brand Trust and Brand Loyalty as antecedents of the positive Brand Equity of our beautiful country, Zimbabwe. Out of this analysis, we should be able to pick out aspects of knowledge, trust and loyalty that the country has been able to achieve, accomplish and its general performance towards a progressive and fulfilling brand equity.

There are things that Zimbabwe has been known for historically both negative and positive in the realm of knowledge (brand awareness) and aspects that the New Dispensation has worked on or are still working on that are both in the knowledge and trust domain, most very positive and some needing attention.

There is therefore need to project whether these will lead to Brand Loyalty and Commitment to the Brand Zimbabwe going into the future. The current narrative and messaging is positive, projecting Zimbabwe progressively after years of hate, violence, extreme polarisation, economic demise and poverty.

The Second Republic in trying to address a myriad of problems accumulated over two to three decades has made strides in uplifting some of the aspects of our socio — economic development in a short space of time. Rome was not built in a day. Its only five years since 2018 and the massive infrastructural projects, phenomenal transformation in higher education, relative peace and tranquilly, devolution and decentralisation, NDS1 driven development trajectory, the engagement and re- engagement drive, agricultural transformation, tourism boom, information dissemination etc. cannot be ignored.

Yes poverty, corruption, Foreign Direct Investment, sanctions and other challenges still persist but with peace, unity of purpose, focus and good politics, we are marching forward to a “Renewed Jewel of Africa”.

Brand knowledge as a base towards trust and loyalty Brand awareness, that is the degree to which a brand is known among the stakeholders is critical.

This can be ascertained and measured through familiarity and liking, that is, consumers with a positive attitude towards a brand will mention it more thereby spread brand awareness and thus corresponds with brand salience concerning the extent to which the brand is evoked in a consumer’s mind amongst competing brands. It is all about the extent to which the brand is considered during the purchasing process.

Awareness is, therefore, an element of brand knowledge connected to brand awareness in the dimension to product or brand knowledge under customer behaviour is familiarity.

It has been recognised as the first step in purchase behaviour modes. Familiarity is in two forms; that is, informational and experiential familiarity. Destination familiarity should be operationalised as a combination of the amount of information and previous experience.

Scholars generally agree that destination familiarity or awareness is very important in the destination selection process. In the case of Zimbabwe, cricket is the first thing that people ask about. The former president of the Republic of Zimbabwe (Rorbert Mugabe) was the second. The Land Reform occupied most mature minds from

1999 to date because it was one of the unprecedented revolutions for the empowerment of the poor and taking over ownership of the means of production. This was the watershed of the history of Zimbabwe which brought dire consequences from the Western World including sanctions.

The Zimbabwe’s brand had to succumb into a “Perceived risky” brand because of information and experimental familiarity of the time.

Depending on the world one belonged to, there were stereotyped positions taken by global countries towards Zimbabwe. That became the determinant factors of the image and perception of Zimbabwe. The consequences of the image and perception of the brand, as caused mainly by the Land Reform brought sanctions across the board and the economic disaster.

This shows that consumers overall perceptions of a destination may be favourable or unfavourable.

Most scholars and practitioners conclude that in the destination branding process, destination image is only a part. For destination image research to be useful and relevant to the current challenges of destination branding, it should be taken and examined as part of the brand knowledge and in conjunction with other branding concepts including brand trust and brand loyalty for establishing a strong and positive brand equity.

Brand Trust

The sociological theory of trust is important in emphasising the relationship between brand awareness, brand image and brand trust. It says that trust is about expectations which consist of three modes: familiarity, confidence and then trust.

This means that familiarity precedes confidence and trust is only possible in a familiar world. What it therefore means is that brand trust is a critical step of selecting a destination. Trust is also a state which involves confident and positive expectations.

Other scholars take it as a generalised expectancy held by an individual or group that word, promise, verbal or written statement of another individual or group can be relied upon. Brand trust is consumers’ willingness to rely on the ability of a brand to deliver its promise and meet or exceed the expectations of its stakeholders.

A trusted destination brand is a competitive brand over other destinations in the decision making process of the visitor, investors and skilled people. Trust comes with an assessment of risk.

It is therefore imperative in this context to get Zimbabwe to be a trusted destination by fulfilling its Brand promise, meet the expectations of the stakeholders and even exceed the expectations.

Pronouncements by our President and leadership and delivery on the ground should be in sync to build confidence in the global world. Deliverables should be tangible. In the current situation of the Second Republic there are notable deliverables and milestones that are making the world slowly getting positive about Zimbabwe as a re–emerging giant in Southern Africa.

It’s getting to be a trusted destination as reflected by numerous engagements that are being experienced.
Understanding of trust is critical and relevant in appreciating tourist, investor and talented decision making process because all these stakeholders depend on their knowledge of the destination to evaluate whether the brand can be trusted. Zimbabwe’s Brand Equity all depends on this in a big way.
Brand loyalty a key component of Brand Equity
There is a close relation between Brand trust and Behavioural loyalty and attitudinal loyalty. Loyalty can be conceptualised as behavioural intention to buy the brand and to recommend others to buy that brand. Brand loyalty is a consequence of brand trust in a destination brand. The Zimbabwe
Brand strategists should embrace the principles of consumer based equity which destination researchers are beginning to take as of strategic importance for nation branding. Brand trust and loyalty, unique and new features in destination branding research, are two distinct, but related aspects of branding both of which are the consequence of Brand Knowledge. As mentioned above Brand Knowledge with elements such as awareness, informational familiarity, experiential familiarity and brand image is the pre- condition for Brand Trust and Loyalty.
In conclusion, it is important to point that as destinations embark on branding by investing solely in creative advertising, they must be informed that while catchy slogans and sensational advertisements may influence increased awareness of destination brands, the winning brands will succeed when consistent brand knowledge is translated into the formation of an emotional bond with global stakeholders and the brand.

Brand trust and loyalty, critical elements of a destinations Brand Equity are at the centre of the bond. Zimbabwe’s Brand Equity will definitely pay dividends if the current development trajectory is sustained and existing challenges are gradually addressed.

The Second Republic must always walk the talk. Zimbabweans must love their country to uplift the value and benefits to the country

Share This:

Sponsored Links